What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematics of Secrets 

Updated 13 September 2018

What We Are Reading Today: The Mathematics of Secrets 

  • The Mathematics of Secrets takes readers on a fascinating tour of the mathematics behind cryptography — the science of sending secret messages

BOOK AUTHOR: Joshua Holden


The Mathematics of Secrets takes readers on a fascinating tour of the mathematics behind cryptography — the science of sending secret messages. Most books about cryptography are organized historically, or around how codes and ciphers have been used, such as in government and military intelligence or bank transactions.Joshua Holden instead shows how mathematical principles underpin the ways that different codes and ciphers operate. Holden focuses on both code making and code breaking and he discusses the majority of ancient and modern ciphers currently known.

Holden begins by looking at substitution ciphers, built by substituting one letter or block of letters for another. Explaining one of the simplest and historically well-known ciphers, the Caesar cipher, Holden establishes the key mathematical idea behind the cipher and discusses how to introduce flexibility and additional notation. Holden goes on to explore polyalphabetic substitution ciphers, transposition ciphers, including one developed by the Spartans, connections between ciphers and computer encryption, stream ciphers, and ciphers involving exponentiation.

He also examines public-key ciphers, where the methods used to encrypt messages are public knowledge, and yet, intended recipients are still the only ones who are able to read the message. He concludes with a look at the future of ciphers and where cryptography might be headed. Only basic mathematics up to high school algebra is needed to understand and enjoy the book.

Salma Abu Deif unites with UNICEF for charity drive

The Egyptian actress asked her 1.6 million followers to donate to UNICEF amid the coronavirus crisis. Instagram
Updated 21 min 38 sec ago

Salma Abu Deif unites with UNICEF for charity drive

DUBAI: Egyptian actress Salma Abu Deif posted a video on her Instagram account urging her followers to donate to UNICEF’s fight against COVID-19.

The organization is attempting to supply essential supplies and protective equipment to where they are needed most to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 64,000 lives worldwide.

Wearing a black UNICEF t-shirt, the 25-year-old asked her 1.6 million followers to click on the link supplied in her Instagram bio to donate to the non-profit humanitarian organization amid the coronavirus crisis to help vulnerable families and children get the resources they need to protect themselves during the ongoing pandemic.

“Good morning everyone. I hope you’re doing good and staying home safely during these hard times of fighting COVID-19,” she starts off saying in the video.

“On behalf of UNICEF, I’m asking you to visit the link in my bio or the one on UNICEF’s page to donate to UNICEF as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow so fast. UNICEF is procuring and shipping vital supplies, including personal protective equipment, to countries affected.”

The actress then reiterates her message in Arabic, in an effort to reach a wider audience.

In 2019, the “Sheikh Jackson” actress teamed up with the charity organization to meet with Syrian refugee children at Zouq Bhannin, an informal settlement in Lebanon.

The actress also visited the Shatila Palestinian Camp, a refugee camp for displaced Palestinian families and children in Lebanon, in 2019, calling it the most “eye-opening” experience of her life.

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The most eye opening experience in my life. with @unicef @uniceflebanon visiting Shatila Palestinian Camp and spending some playful and educational time with the kids and women learning about the activities and services they have been working on for the past few years to improve The Shatila Community. Shatila is a Palestinian refugee camp that was established after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War to accommodate the Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the 1948 Palestinian exodus. To help please go check my bio for more info. زيارتي مع يونيسيف في زيارة إلى مخيم شاتيلا الفلسطيني وقضاء بعض الوقت الممتع والتعليمي مع الأطفال والنساء للتعرف على الأنشطة والخدمات التي كانوا يعملون عليها في السنوات القليلة الماضية لتحسين مجتمع شاتيلا. شاتيلا هو مخيم للاجئين الفلسطينيين أنشئ بعد الحرب العربية الإسرائيلية عام 1948 لاستيعاب اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الذين فروا أو طُردوا خلال الهجرة الفلسطينية @unicef_mena عام 1948. للمساعدة برجاء زيارة الرابط في البايو

A post shared by Salma Abu Deif (@salmaabudeif) on

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, individuals and organizations around the world have engaged in acts of generosity, including various fashion houses, celebrities and models who are all doing their part, whether by providing meals to families or uniting with organizations such as UNICEF to raise awareness.

For her part, part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik posted an Instagram video last week announcing that she is participating in the #DoYourPartChallenge. The pop star and model has begun working with food delivery service DoorDash in the US to provide meals to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m going to be taking part in the Do Your Part challenge thanks to DoorDash. I’m going to be providing meals to families in need during this time, so if you could please direct message me or send a comment below, I can do what I can to help you out,” the 29-year-old said. “Stay strong guys and I’m sending lots of love to all of you.”

French-Tunisian model and singer Sonia Ben Ammar posted a similar video urging those in need to reach out to her.

In a clip uploaded to her Instagram account, the 20-year-old reiterated how important the challenge is, thanking her friends for nominating her. “I know that there’s a lot of people struggling, families, businesses, people losing their jobs, so I think it’s important to help out however you can (sic),” she stated. Ammar then pledged to donate free gift cards for meals to people in need.